Monday, September 19, 2011

A Bible Translation--for Klingons?

Okay, when I first heard about the project to translate the Bible into the Klingon language, I thought it was a joke. Certainly, a joke that was out-of-this-world, but still a joke. However, a few clicks on Google quickly brought the joke down to earth.

In case you, too, are unfamiliar with it, the KBTP (Klingon Bible Translation Project, naturally!) is evidently a serious effort by some sci-fi diehards to translate both the Old and New Testaments into the language of a fictional planet. It turns out that the Klingon Language Institute (how did I miss that one when I chose a college?) organized a long-term effort to translate the whole Bible. So far, though, the Klingon Language Institute has produced only a few translated books, including the Gospel of Mark. As you can imagine, such a huge undertaking cannot be sustained at Warp factor 9. In fact, although progress is visible, the velocity of the project is still at sub-light speed, on impulse engines only.

As an adult who grew up within 30 miles of Detroit, where Channel 50 never seemed let more than six months pass before rebroadcasting afresh all the adventures of the original Star Trek crew in those days, I absorbed a fair knowledge of Star Fleet Command and all of that future universe. For a person like me, a proposed KLV Bible  (Klingon Language Version) immediately sparks questions. For instance, in the KLV, will believers actually die, or will the text imply that they have simply "beamed up" to Heaven? Will there be only one Klingon version, or will conservative Trekkers prefer a future CJV translation--Captain James (T. Kirk) Version of 2311? Will the Ark include two Tribbles? (And if so, how long will that situation last?) There's a veritable galaxy of questions waiting to be answered. Unfortunately, I won't be around long enough to enroll in Star Fleet Academy to learn the answers.

For those who are curious but don't want to wait a couple hundred years, you can still enjoy Bible meditations built around the etymology of certain Klingon words at sites like this one:  (available in podcast format)

A few answers can be found at the "Why a Klingon Bible?" site:

Me? I have enough concerns right here on terra firma without translating Scriptures for a race that doesn't exist. And I might be overstepping my bounds, but I'm pretty sure Mr. Spock would find my conclusion quite logical.

So, dear reader, does a Klingon Bible raise any questions or thoughts in you? If so, share them in the comment section. Even if not, pull up a seat and help us wait for the year 2228, when baby James T. Kirk will be born in Riverside, Iowa (that is, barring a temporal rift in the space-time continuum).

Live long, and prosper!

1 comment:


    At the risk of being irreverent, let me take a shot. Klingons, like Nazis, are easy to hate. They are ugly, mean, untrustworthy, utterly selfish.

    Jesus says to Love your enemies. Not because you pity them (they were born that way), not because you want to fix them (they were raised in a hostile environment), not because you will get some kind of cosmic reward (though you will), no. You love your enemy because because it's one way for you to understand that you too are a Klingon, yes you.

    You reader, you hated, you hurt others, and defied the one who died for you. As he reached out to us in our defiance, so we reach out to them. Because He first loved us, we can love Him.

    Matthew 25:45
    " you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."

    That's why our mission is "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

    (This message will be approved by Captain James T. Kirk)